An ETF That Benefits From a Rise in Consumer Spending
Shoppers should open up their wallets as the weather warms and the economy improves. And that has investors in clothing retailers, restaurants, media companies and other consumer-discretionary companies seeing dollar signs.
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Shares of firms that rely on spending beyond that for necessities typically suffer during market downturns but tend to rebound strongly when the economy expands. It’s happening already: Over the past year, consumer-discretionary stocks climbed 29%. But there is room for further gains: Kiplinger expects the economy to grow 2.7% in 2014, up from 1.9% in 2013.
First Trust Consumer Discretionary AlphaDEX (symbol FXD) holds shares in 134 companies that stand to benefit from an uptick in spending. The exchange-traded fund tracks the StrataQuant Consumer Discretionary Index, which selects stocks from the Russell 1000 index based on how they score on growth factors, such as one-year sales growth, and value measures, such as book value to price. Rather than rank the holdings in the fund by market value, as traditional index funds do, this ETF, like other AlphaDEX funds, weights stocks by their growth and value scores instead.
The weeding process tends to tilt the fund toward smaller companies. Stocks in this ETF have an average market value of about $9 billion, less than the $23 billion average value of companies in the typical consumer-discretionary fund.